I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


22 January 2010

San Diego Travel Tips Needed

Anyone care to offer up advice for San Diego? Heading there next week (mostly work, a little pleasure). I need ideas for lunch, dinner, drinks, and entertainment. Our group already plans to hit the zoo one day and we have heard the Gas Lamp District is fun. Also thinking a trip to Tijuana is a must. Any input is greatly appreciated!!

21 January 2010

Goodwill Dresser Makeover

I was having trouble finding a dresser for the guest bedroom. I wanted wood, not painted, but I didn’t want to spend a bunch of moolah as trying to be somewhat thrifty. Me thrifty – an oxymoron I know but the house projects are endless and sucking up cash faster than I can make it. After watching others turn trash to treasure I though maybe I could do the same. Of course my family all thought I was CRAZY. But lo and behold the first Goodwill I tried (Goodwill in Council Bluffs where I have dumped endless sacks of donations since home) had just what I wanted.

It had the structure I wanted, good quality wood, and the right size. Obviously it was a bit ugly - especially the handles and scratched up top.

But it was a steal at just $39.99 (on sale from $79.99). I actually almost asked for more of a discount due to my donations as of late but figured that would look mega cheap.

I layered on a stain removing product (which of course ended up on my face and in my eye and stung like mad) and I sanded. Man is that hard work! Had I had more patience, time, and energy I would have sanded better but I am a big fan of the good enough method. Next up was the fun part of re-staining with a new dark color. I used stain/poly mix and I thought it worked great. But next time may use just stain and finish with poly. I have been told I should have used steel wool again at the end and maybe more poly? Who knows – again the good enough method works for me. I bought the hardware at Menards. Overall I am very happy with the finished product.

And it fits perfectly in the little nook of the guest bedroom (this used to be open to the dinning from what I can gather). Looking forward to a few more refinishing projects in the future.

20 January 2010

Guest Bedroom Redo

I never posted after photos of the Guest Bedroom when I finished it this summer. Here are a few refresher before photos:

Nasty. Old shag carpet, dirty stained walls, water stains, etc…Definitely not fit for a guest.

And here it is today.

Freshly painted walls and ceiling (except for the darn water mark), furniture repurposed

(the bed was mine in high school and the dresser was from a goodwill store), wood floors refinished, new fixtures.

Major improvement in my eyes! I am quite happy with how it turned out. I realize I still need accessories to make the room more inviting. Also please ignore the baseboards as they are going to be stripped and stained to match the rest of the woodwork. But it is progress. I am not sure about the art above the bed either - but for now it is staying.

*Aeisha is normally not allowed in this room due to many guests being allergic. Of course she had to take advantage of the small opportunity while taking photos.

19 January 2010

Home Woes

I decided to be brave and have a home energy audit done by Black Hills Energy yesterday. Over the phone the auditor suggested it would take about an hour. Turns out it took more like three hours. I now have a three page list with suggestions for a more efficient home. Some things are easy and cheap some quite difficult and pricey. A bit overwhelming for sure!! However, I would recommend it to everyone as it is free, you get a handful (or two) of free energy efficient light bulbs, a new shower head (also free), and rebates if you complete their recommendations. The auditor was great and very positive the entire time, even if in his mind he was thinking this home is a nightmare, he never let on. During our audit I discovered this:

Perfect. My freshly painted guest room ceiling now has a water stain. Thank you 40+ inches of snow in one month. Luckily the snow is melting and it should be an easy fix (it could have been WAY worse). Once it dries I can use killz and repaint. Just overly frustrating as 95% of my ceilings need painted, does water leak into those rooms? Nope leaks into one of three rooms that has a newly painted ceiling. Oh the joys of home ownership, especially old home ownership. I also have a big task ahead of me that I keep putting off.

Sanding and staining all of these boards for the main floor. Some are mop boards? Others are new baseboards. This is only about a 1/3 of them. Fun times ahead for me. I need a deadline as otherwise its never going to get done.

15 January 2010

Kreycik Riverview Elk & Buffalo Ranch

My family is traveling back to Niobrara, Nebraska this weekend. Sadly I think I am loosing the cabin battle. I must admit this is a win win situation so no real looser. Either cabin will create many memories, family time, relax time, and much more. Plus if I loose it means my parents are buying. This equals more money for overseas vacations for I. This summer we visited the Kreycik Riverview Elk & Buffalo Ranch in Niobrara and I never posted photos. Figure now is a great time – makes me yearn for green pasture and sunny skies!

Kreycik Ranch host hunts where you are guaranteed a kill (sounds brutal when put that way) and also covered wagon excursions.

We chose the wagon. I like Bison meat, but I don’t have a need for a whole Buffalo and I am a terrible shot. The covered wagons are driven by the owner – a true farmer.

Overalls - check, farmer tan - check, 4 wheeler and dog - check.

His wife was our guide. First up were the female Elk along with the single male Elk used for breeding...

A few were actually pets, such as ol Susie here.

Next we moved into the Buffalo pasture,

These animals are ginormous! Around 2,000 pounds or more each. Oddly even with their size they seemed quite friendly.

Probably because they wanted the corn we fed them. The hair was crazy.

mixed in with the Buffalo is an old long horn steer named Boomer.

The next stop on the wagon trail were to visit the European deer, called Fallow Deer. They are mini version of our deer essentially.

And the final sighting – all the male Elks.

Great great tour, great people, fun for all ages. I highly recommend it if you are in the area. I really want a set of antlers. I have now been there twice and both times walk out empty handed (almost empty handed, I always purchase bison meat), next time I visit the farm I am going home with antlers! I think they would be a perfect accessory for our cabin.

14 January 2010


I just received this email at work. Subject line: Open Immediately: Survey of potential interest to support efforts in Haiti - Due COB 14 Jan. The TDY's are short (30-60 days) so cause very little interruption to my commitments in Council Bluffs (City Council). I have the skill set needed, the experience, the required shots, the passport, and most important the desire. Unfortunately right now my office is in limbo due to medical issues with our Chief Counsel. My acting Chief (who is retired and was supposed to be here for only a few months….) would prefer no one from this office accept an assignment. Disappointing as would have been an amazing experience and would have satisfied my current lust for adventure, travel, and service. I have faith that everything will align and I will get another opportunity to give back and help others in the future. Until then my thoughts and prayers go to all of those in Haiti suffering .

12 January 2010

First Council Meeting

Was last night. I was nervous, excited, jittery, anxious, among a million other emotions. Once the meeting was underway and I relaxed a little it was an amazing experience. I am very excited for the next four years and this wonderful opportunity.

Staff photo/Tim Rohwer (Daily Nonpareil) - Melissa Head, right, prepares for her first meeting as a member of Council Bluffs City Council Monday evening as fellow Councilwoman Lynne Branigan looks on.
I have posted several articles from today’s papers on my Head4CB blog. I know it is cheesy and quite superficial, but I can’t help it. I get excited when I see my name or photo in the paper. Makes me feel famous!! Also means I must put additional thought into wardrobe and hair/makeup, especially on council days since the meetings are broadcasted. Too bad we don’t get a stylist and stipend for wardrobe along with our council salary!!

08 January 2010

Dreaming of Sunshine

Negative digits today for our temperature with predictions of -25 overnight (temperature not wind chill!!) Arctic!! Days like this make me long for a sunny beach. Around this time last year I took a trip to Mexico with a great group of friends. The weather was ideal. (although at the time I was just returning from life in the desert so I didn’t fully appreciate it)

The scenery perfect.

The company fun.

I want a tan (a real tan not a tanning bed tan), a run on the beach, a cocktail, and relaxation. Anyone else ready for a vacation???